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Jelena Dinic

Jelena Dinic

Jelena Dinic arrived in Australia in 1993 during the collapse of Yugoslavia. She writes in Serbian and English. She is the recipient of the George Town Literary Exchange and The Arts Space residency in Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia and the Eleanor Dark Foundation Varuna Writers’ Retreat in the Blue Mountains. Her poetry and short stories have been published in literary journals and anthologies including Australian Book Review, Australian Poetry Anthology, Australian Poetry Journal, Best Australian Poems, Going Down Swinging, and Westerly among others. Her first full collection In the room with the she wolf was selected for the Adelaide Festival 2020 Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award and was the winner of the Mary Gilmore award in 2022. Jelena is dedicated to supporting students and families from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds, and passionately working with her team towards inclusion, settlement and wellbeing. She lives in the Adelaide Hills with her family.

''Come Closer and Listen': A tribute to Charles Simic (1938-2023)', by Jelena Dinić

November 2023, no. 459 27 October 2023
It took me years to gather enough courage to introduce myself. Finally, deep into the Covid lockdown and a few months after receiving an award for my first collection of poems, I began my correspondence with Charles Simic by sending him an email to share the news, as if he were a family member, the one who would understand. He replied warmly, kindly, and in Serbian: ‘Draga Jelena …’ Charl ... (read more)

'Close Contacts', a poem by Jelena Dinić

March 2022, no. 440 21 February 2022
My husband has returned. A traveller whose flight was cancelled has found his way home. He slowly unpacks while I make space for the unexpected. The house is full of him. I find him everywhere. He hovers in the kitchen and takes over the knives. He lifts paper to the window’s light and slices it with the sharpest blade. I keep saying wash your hands, this virus is deadly. We wait from a distan ... (read more)

States of Poetry 2016 - South Australia | 'Back' by Jelena Dinic

States of Poetry South Australia - Series One 22 February 2016
I walk through my hometownas an uninvited guest. Divorcedfrom communism the old street has taken backits maiden name. I follow the steps of a lost childwatching myself from the curtainsof memory's windows. The doors of St Nicholas churchare rusty but open. Inside familiar facesand a sign Buy candles herethey are blessed. I count how many are neededfor the living then for the deadtheir sma ... (read more)

States of Poetry 2016 - South Australia | 'Babysitting' by Jelena Dinic

States of Poetry South Australia - Series One 22 February 2016
for Mia   I wore my grandmother's clothesand sat on her doorstep.Monday to Friday.She talked.I lied. 'I'll teach you how to write,' I saidpretending I couldhold a pen.'Mouse will eat your ears,' she smiled. At night we leaned on pillowswatched TV with subtitles.I made up foreign words.I told her it was mostly German. 'Tell me more', she said.'Tomorrow,' I said.'Tomorrow is Saturday,' she ... (read more)

States of Poetry 2016 - South Australia | 'The Silence of Siskins' by Jelena Dinic

States of Poetry South Australia - Series One 22 February 2016
for my grandfather   He circles my arrivalon the calendar. It is late Novemberand it doesn't snow. A wooden pallethardens his bed. He dreams of grandmother.He doesn't want new dreams. Two siskins in cages –their song frozen like the air that other Novemberwhen she lost her heart cleaning and bakingfor those who might arrive. Above the fireplace a few fliesare nervous company. 'Not ... (read more)

States of Poetry 2016 - South Australia | 'Alterations to the little black dress' by Jelena Dinic

States of Poetry South Australia - Series One 22 February 2016
A little pin-upthree fingersabove the knees. Behind the curtaina dress-up game –pretty things come undone. He chalks lineson raw stitches.I catwalk. My body fits the timeless black.'You can live in it, or die'smile the lips full of needles. Do I look a little deadwith black fabricon bone-pale flesh? Suddenly in the mirrorI see the last party.This dress is me. In the front rowbutton-eyes wa ... (read more)